Persistence Is Learned from Fathers, Says Study

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Are you tenacious on the job front? Tireless on the playing field? Do you keep chipping away at a pursuit you believe in, even when everyone else seems to say "no"?

You may have your dear old dad to thank for that eternal persistence.

A new study published in the Journal of Early Adolescence found that dads are in a unique position to instill persistence and hope in their children, particularly in the pre-teen and teen years.

Researchers from Brigham Young University analyzed 325 families over a four-year period, when fathers responded to questionnaires regarding their parenting style, and children ages 11 to 14 responded to questions about school performance and attaining goals. Fathers who practiced authoritative parenting, defined as providing feelings of love, granting autonomy and emphasizing accountability to a child, were more likely to have kids who developed the art of persistence, which led to better outcomes in school and lower instances of misbehavior.

Dads who ruled with an iron fist and an authoritarian style (harsher and more punishment-based parenting) had less persistent children.

"Fathers have a direct impact on how children perceive persistence and hope, and how they implement that into their lives," said Randall Day, professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University and co-author of the study. "It's important to say that moms can do this, too, but it turns out that when fathers use authoritative parenting, they have an impact on how their adolescents perceive themselves and how persistent they are in their lives."

Day calls these types of dads "heart beat fathers" because of their consistent presence in the ordinary day-to-day interactions with their kids.

Researchers said the study joins a growing body of research that suggests fathers are uniquely important to children's self-regulation and self-esteem. While that is not to say mothers do not instill these values, men and fathers may take on this role more often because of societal acceptance and expectations.

"Our study suggests fathers who are most effective are those who listen to their children, have a close relationship, set appropriate rules, but also grant appropriate freedoms," said Laura Padilla-Walker, co-author of the study and associate professor in the School of Family Life at BYU.

"Persistence is an important character trait to teach to our children and is meaningfully related to teen outcomes over time," Padilla-Walker continued. "We focus so often on things like genetic intelligence that I think it's refreshing to be reminded that good old-fashioned 'sticking with it' is really important, too."

The characteristics that make up authoritative parenting allow children to "stick with it" by instilling accountability, along with freedom to make their own choices and mistakes, in a supportive environment. The style combines direction and guidance with expectations and respect, Paul Miller, associate professor of psychology at Arizona State University, wrote in an email.

"When held accountable in a supportive way, mistakes do not become a mark against their self-esteem, but a source for learning what to do differently," continued Miller. "Consequently, children are less afraid of making mistakes, are more inclined to try to make better choices in order to demonstrate that they can accomplish and live up to the expectations they share with their parent(s)."

About 52 percent of the fathers in the study showed above-average levels of authoritative parenting.
"While this study has fathers who are the participants, the study is more about the types of parenting practices than the gender of the parent, and this the authors recognize," said Miller.

Dr. John Walkup, professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, said values are often broken up into "hard" and "soft." Men tend to stereotypically demonstrate hard values, like leadership, determination and overcoming adversity, and women tend to take on the soft, which include empathy, support and caring.

"Children need both types of values in their lives," said Walkup. "Either parent can teach either. I love this article. I think dads can be underappreciated at times, but I'm glad we're identifying moms in playing a role in this value of persistence, as well. I'm struck all the time in clinical work how parents figure out how to share these value systems."

For those dads who want to incorporate more authoritative parenting into their style, Day encouraged parents to simply listen.

"Spend more time listening at a deep level and less time trying to give lectures or solve the problem," said Day. "Authoritative parents show encouragement by regularly having their children talk to them."

While the study focused on children from two-parent homes, study authors plan on following up their research by examining what day-to-day actions affect children most.

Source : http://abcnews.go.com/Health/persistence-learned-fathers-study/story?id=16571927#.UMAm5YbLmj5


Value of Fathers: The Derek Redmond story

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Derek Redmond was a British running prodigy during the 1980′s and early 1990′s.  At age 19 he tore the British record for the 400 meters to shreds.  It is not, however, for that record (which was eventually broken) that he’ll be remembered.  Redmond will be remembered for his performance in the semifinals of the 400-meter dash in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

In 1988, Redmond had to pull out of the Olympics 10 minutes before the race due to a torn Achilles tendon.  The next year, Redmond underwent five different surgeries and began a long road to recovery.  By 1992, he was ready to show the world that he was a force to be reckoned with.

Related: Derek and Dad finish Olympic 400 together

Coming around the backstretch, Redmond was in a great position to qualify for the medal race.  Suddenly, with 175 meters remaining to qualification, Redmond both felt and heard a sharp pop from his right leg.  In later interviews, Redmond said he was so surprised by the noise from his leg, he thought he had been shot.  But like the British record he had ripped to shreds at 19, Redmond had torn his hamstring to bits.  His dream of an Olympic medal was gone.

Redmond knelt down in agony, and the medical teams came on the track with a stretcher to carry him off.  Redmond wouldn’t have it.  One-legged, tears streaming down his face, Redmond rose and proceeded to hobble his way in agony toward the finish.  The fans, many of which were also in tears at this point, cheered him on.

Suddenly, another man jumped the railings and burst through Olympic security, fighting to reach Redmond.

It was his father, Jim.

Related: Persistence in children attributed to fathers (study)

The elder Redmond told his son he didn’t have to finish, but the younger again wouldn’t have it.  The father put his son’s arm over his shoulder, and the two continued the march to the finish together.

The cheering from 65,000 fans reached a fever pitch.

Just before the finish line, the elder Redmond released his hold on his son so that he could finish the race on his own, and Derek Redmond had sealed his name into history.

Source : http://familynews.com/the-derek-redmond-story/


As many as 20% of teens have 'sexted', according to new study

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As many as one in five teenagers has sent an explicit photo of himself or herself to others. And twice that many report they've received such photos, according to a new study lead by University of Utah researchers. Of those teens, a significant number don't recognize the potential for serious emotional and even legal consequences.
But even many of those who know there are potential consequences say they still "sext."

Most studies on sexting ask about sharing explicit or provocative photos. The new study considered only sharing of explicit photos, said lead researcher Donald S. Strassberg, professor of psychology. "Provocative doesn't get kids into legal trouble. Nude pictures can. We asked about sending sexually explicit photos to other teens or to adults."

The research has just been published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

The researchers surveyed more than 600 students at a private high school in the Southwest. Students answered questionnaires anonymously with parental permission. When the researchers followed up by comparing the findings against a survey of 1,200 college students about their own previous high school sexting practices, they found very similar results, lending credence to the numbers, he said. "We think it is generalizable" to the broader high school-age population.

About 18 percent of the students, both girls and boys, some as young as 14, said they had sent images of themselves that were explicit, using cell phones. Asked how many received them, about 30 percent of the teenage girls had, while half the boys said they'd received such images. The difference between the number sending and the number receiving is probably because of "forwards," Strassberg said.
When the researchers asked the students, all freshman to senior age, what they thought the possible legal consequences of sexting were, many left it blank. "Our best guess is that most don't really appreciate what the legal consequences could be," he said. But almost a third said they continued to sext despite believing there could be serious legal ramifications.

"It's like texting while driving," said Strassberg. "Most don't recognize the seriousness. But if they do, they somehow don't think it will happen to them. They feel special in some way. But there are serious legal consequences and most don't know it."

Actual charges that have been filed in sexting cases: In some jurisdictions, kids sending sexually explicit pictures of a minor could be charged with trafficking in child pornography, even if sending a picture of himself or herself. And having such a photo on a phone or computer — something many of the surveyed youths didn't recognize — could lead to criminal charges, too. "It's not my fault if someone sends it to me" was a common attitude that failed to recognize that reality, Strassberg said. Some, though not all, jurisdictions level a charge of possessing child pornography, he noted.
There have been cases where youths who were sexting faced the possibility of being listed on a sex-offender registry, as well.

Adults face prison time for having such images. 

The most dire potential consequences are not legal, but psychosocial. At least two American adolescent girls killed themselves after their boyfriends forwarded the photos they provided of themselves once the pairs split up. 

Experts say such images frequently, perhaps even usually, outlast the romances that sparked them.
The researchers said that parents need to step up and have the conversations with their kids that will fully inform them about the dangers. And schools should address it as well.

"To pretend this is a rare event — that hardly anybody is sending or getting these pictures — is not true," Strassberg warned.

Because of the importance of the topic, the journal is making the full study available to anyone who wants it at no charge for 30 days.

Other researchers listed on the paper are Ryan K. McKinnon and M.A. Sustaita, also of the University of Utah, and Jordan Rullo of the University of Minnesota Medical School.


20 Pillow Talk Questions for You and Your Child

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Here are 20 Pillow Talk Questions from iMOM to help you jump start your relationship with your child

  1. What do you like to dream about?
  2. What is your best memory this school year?
  3. Who is your hero? Why?
  4. How would you describe your family?
  5. If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
  6. What are you most proud of yourself for?
  7. Who is the kindest person you know? Why?
  8. What do you like most about your best friend?
  9. What is one thing you would like to learn to do well?
  10. If you were an animal what one would you be and why?
  11. When is the last time someome hurt your feelings? How did you react?
  12. Do you know someone who is going though a hard time? How can you help them?
  13. What is the scariest thing that happened this year?
  14. If you could keep only one thing, out of everything you have, what would it be?
  15. Who do you think is really successful? Why?
  16. What’s the best thing about your teacher this year?
  17. When do you feel misunderstood by grown-ups?
  18. What three words best describe you?
  19. What’s something that makes you angry?
  20. What’s the best compliment you ever received

Source :   http://www.imom.com/espresso-minute/20-pillow-talk-questions-for-you-and-your-child/


Teenager shot with spear through head survives

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Yasel Lopez, 16, was fishing with a friend in Miami when their three-foot spear gun went off unexpectedly, piercing Lopez through his head. Doctors are calling his survival from the accident, nearly two weeks ago, a miracle.

The gun went off unexpectedly when the teenagers were loading it with a spear, sending it straight into Lopez's skull, Tamron Hall reported on TODAY Monday. The force of the impact was so strong it knocked him into the water. Acting quickly, his friend called 911 and Lopez was soon airlifted to Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital where doctors raced to save him.

Doctors revealed details Monday about Lopez's ordeal, and how they worked to save his life. “We used a high-speed drill to drill the bone at either end to create an opening through which we could remove the spear,” one of the doctors told reporters. They first had to cut the spear to prevent it from moving and allow doctors to do tests. After the spear was cut, doctors said they were able to plan the surgery: “We were able to position him laying with his left side down, right side up, and then we were able to open a large incision."

Dr. George Garcia, who helped to save Lopez's life, said that Lopez was awake and interacting with hospital staff when he arrived, though he became agitated and panicky. “We didn't know if that was a result of the injury to his brain or if he was just scared or in a lot of pain.” Dr. Garcia said that that the fact that Lopez was lucid throughout gave the doctors confidence the teenager would survive.

Calling Lopez a “pretty incredible, very lucky boy,” Dr. Garcia said, “I expected he would do well because he was awake from the injury...The fact that he was speaking to the paramedics in route and stuff made me hopeful from the beginning.”

Lopez, currently in recovery, was only able to speak to doctors in short sentences as of Monday. He may never remember the incident because it appears that he could be suffering from post-traumatic amnesia.

Not one but three miracles kept Lopez alive: The side through which the spear pierced his head, the fact that it managed to miss important blood vessels and that it avoided damaging vital brain structures all contributed to his survival.

“It's just incredibly fortunate it’s a constellation of circumstances that came through in this amazing, freaky way," said a doctor.

Source :http://todayhealth.today.com/_news/2012/06/19/12298215-teenager-shot-with-spear-through-head-survives?lite


Debt trap: Breaking free from the cycle of payday loans

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Benjamin John Coleman wants to ban payday loans from Rhode Island because he knows what it feels like to be desperate enough to take one out.

Even though he never had a payday loan.

Coleman, who has been in recovery for four years, said he turned to short-term credit six years ago to simply get money for drugs. "I didn't care what the interest rate was," he says.

His credit fix was a title-loan on his home, a camper trailer. He lost the trailer, but eventually turned his life around. Now Coleman helps other people who are trying to recover from drugs — and works on getting rid of what he considers another addiction: payday loans. He is a volunteer who helps update the website RIPayday.org, an organization seeking to ban payday loans from Rhode Island.
But not everybody who uses payday loans is desperate. In tough economic times, more people are turning to payday loans for temporary help — even if they have good salaries. A recent survey by Think Finance found Millennials making between $50,000 and $74,000 were 7 percent more likely than Millennials who made less than $25,000 to take out a payday loan.

What Coleman is hoping to do in Rhode Island has already happened in other states. Arizona's effective ban on payday loans went into effect in July 2010, for example. Santa Clara County, Calif. limited the number of payday loan stores in May.

But not everybody is opposed to the loans. The Pennsylvania Senate is considering legalizing payday lending after approval by the State House. By comparison in Utah, according to the Department of Financial Institutions, lenders can't allow a rollover of a loan beyond ten weeks from the initial execution date of the loan. Borrowers can make payments on loans in $5 increments or more without incurring any additional finance charges. 


At the center of the debate is what critics call the payday loan debt cycle. It works like this: People don't have enough money to pay their bills so they take out a payday loan. When they get their next paycheck, they pay back the entire loan plus fees that are equivalent to triple digit annual percentage rates. This, unfortunately, leaves them without enough money to pay their bills, so they take out another payday loan. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

But is this a situation unique to just payday loans?

Richard W. Evans, an assistant professor of economics at BYU, who says he did some consulting work for payday lenders back in 2009 and 2010, doesn't think so.

"You do see people abuse these loans," Evans says. "But that is not specific to the payday lending industry. You can find people who 'can't handle their liquor' in mortgage markets, in credit card markets — in any debt market you have people who over borrow."


Here is your typical person who takes out a payday loan according to the Consumer Federation of America's national expert on payday lending, Jean Ann Fox: They have a low to moderate income. They have to have a bank account to be eligible for the loan. They have to have a source of income. "Consumers who use payday loans are not the most destitute in society," Fox says. "They are banked and they have a source of income."

Why are they taking out the loans?

Nathalie Martin, a professor at University of New Mexico's School of Law, and an expert on consumer law, bankruptcy and predatory lending products, says her studies show most people are taking out payday loans not for emergencies, but for regular monthly obligations. "It just creates a situation where next month or two weeks from now they have another bill to pay," she says. "I think people are far better off without this type of credit."

A study by the Center for Responsible Lending showed that 76 percent of payday loans were taken within two weeks of another payday loan — meaning that three-fourths of the loans were from people in the payday loan debt cycle.

For Evans, banning payday loans would be like banning credit cards because some people do not use them responsibly. The question is not one of banning, but of personal responsibility and freedom. The problem is not unique to payday loans.

Evans says payday loans are part of a continuum of different debt products — ranging from 30-year mortgages to installment loans for furniture. There are credit cards, revolving credit, payday loans, title loans, payday loans and so forth.

And payday loans are very transparent, Evans says. "It's just a simple transaction," he says. "You go in. You borrow $300. And then you go back and you pay back $300 plus $45 in two weeks. That's the basic transaction."

But it is the easiness and simplicity that bothers Fox with CFA, "The easy solution of walking into a payday loan store and writing a check when you don't have money in the bank and promising to pay it all back out of your next paycheck at triple-digit interest rates, to keep that check from bouncing and triggering overdraft fees, — that is not a solution," she says. "It adds to your problems."


Payday lending isn't everywhere. Some states allow the loans with few regulations. Others put on various restrictions that are aimed to break the debt cycle — such as limiting the number of consecutive loans. Others have banned them outright or lowered the interest rate so they are not profitable to lenders.

"Payday lending, the way the industry wants to do it, is only legal in 37 states," Fox says. "About a third of the population of the United States live in a state that does not authorize single-payment, triple-digit-interest-rate loans."

North Carolina's payday laws were allowed to expire, ending the practice — and making an opportunity to see how ending payday lending affected people. But when a state ends payday loans, such as North Carolina, Evans says the results are mixed. "There is evidence on both sides," he says. "Some studies say that when payday lenders were banned, delinquencies and bankruptcies went up. Others showed that the (area) with payday lenders had more delinquencies. So it is an open question."
Martin agrees that the studies are not clear. "Some show people are better without this," she says. "Some show people are better with this. So they are really inconclusive."

The Community Financial Services Association of America, a trade association for payday lenders, says on its website that studies don't show a payday cycle because the number of times a customer can take out a loan is limited in most states. CFSA member lenders also offer extended payment plans at no extra cost if the borrower can't pay back the loan in time. "The vast majority of Americans, undeniably, use payday advances responsibly and, as intended, for short-term use," the CFSA website says. "State regulator reports and public company filings confirms that more than 90 percent of payday advances are repaid when due and more than 95 percent are ultimately collected."
But whether there is a cycle or not, how are those fees eventually collected?

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Fox says up to 50 percent of the people taking out payday loans eventually default. "They just can't keep it up," she says.

If they default, they rack up bounced check fees. They may lose their bank account. Lenders initiate debt collection.

In other cases, people use their tax refund to pay it off.

People may go to their family for help.

People ask for help from churches. They've gone to credit counseling. They go to food banks and use the money they save to pay off the loan.

They may go for a larger loan, which puts them in a different type of trouble, Fox says.

Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance (MoneyCrashers.com), says in extreme cases, people can always file for bankruptcy. "But keep in mind that this ruins your credit score, which takes years to rebuild," he says.

Schrage says one way out may be to generate more income. "You can conserve energy to reduce your monthly bills," he says. "Sell your unneeded electronics online, have a garage sale, start a side business — the possibilities are endless."


Evans list of alternatives to taking out payday loans isn't pretty. "One product people move into is to overdraw their bank account and then pay those fees," Evans says.

Bankruptcy is another "option."

People can borrow on a credit card.

They can do installment loans or collateralized loans (like title or pawn loans).

People can borrow against their home equity.

Each of these loans has a different maturity and level of collateralization, Evans says.

Fox says the first line of defense against using payday loans is an emergency savings account. 

"People say they can't afford to save money," she says, "but you can't afford to pay $75 to borrow $500 every payday either."

Fox says for a family making $25,000 a year, just $500 in an emergency savings account will make it eight times less likely they would take out a payday loan, she says.

The best time to set aside an emergency fund is during tax season when people get their earned income tax credit and child tax credit. Then, if there is an emergency or an interruption in income, people can borrow from themselves and pay themselves back when they can. This puts less stress on a family than borrowing that money and having to pay it all back on the next paycheck with fees.
Lower cost small dollar loans are sometimes available at credit unions.

"(When payday loans are not available) people do what you do when you run short of money," Fox says. "They juggle their finances, ask their family for help, ask for more time to pay their bills, ask for an advance on their next paycheck — the things people have always done when they have trouble making ends meet."

Schrage thinks a personal loan from family or friends is the best resource for help in lieu of payday loans. "If you can secure a loan from a friend or family member, do yourself a favor and put the agreed upon terms in writing to protect both parties," he says. "Also, whatever terms are agreed upon, stick to them as best you can. This way, your loan won't have any negative effects on your personal relationships."

There are also short-term credit union loans. "Some credit unions offer short-term loans with better rates than payday loans," Schrage says.


And there are always credit cards.

"It is certainly much less expensive to take out a cash advance on your credit card — it is still pricey, but it is much less expensive than getting a payday loan that has to be paid back at one time," Fox says.

But, surprisingly, a study in the May 2009 American Economic Review on "Payday Loans and Credit Cards" found that "most borrowers from one payday lender who also have a credit card from a major credit card issuer have substantial credit card liquidity on the days they take out their payday loans."
In other words, they could have borrowed that money on their credit cards at a much lower interest rate.

Why don't they? Evans thinks a payday loan forces people to pay back the money sooner. "They are committing themselves to pay it off," he says.


Martin thinks the problem is financial literacy and a general culture of immediacy. "The real problem is people are not aware of how much money is coming in and how much is going out," Martin says.

Schrage agrees.

"Your best bet is to simply take control of your finances so that a payday loan is never a necessity," he says. "Create a personal budget for yourself, and commit to spending less than you make. Cut costs wherever you can, and try to generate more income, either on the side, or by working more hours at your day job."

Fox still sees payday loans as a trap — saying there is usually not enough money to pay back a payday loan in two weeks — even if the loan is free. "You don't solve a debt problem with more debt," Fox says.

Evans, however, says payday loans are no worse than any other type of debt if used responsibly. "In any debt product, there is a risk of getting into a debt spiral," he says. "In the United States, you and I have the liberty to take on more debt than we can handle. The risks of payday loans are not any greater, and are probably less than other lending products."


Spending Time with the Kids Reduces Stress

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Single mothers who engage with children in daily activities, such as reading stories or playing games, may experience lower levels of stress, according to a new study
The study sought to understand the link between parental stress, parental engagement, and child temperament.

By studying a national dataset, the study concluded:
  • Single mothers who spent time engaging in daily activities with their child at age 1 were more likely to continue engagement at age 5.
  • The more difficult a child is at an early age, the less likely the mother is to engage with him over the first five years of life.
  • If a child is seen as difficult and fussy, it increases the level of parental stress.
  • Even if a single mother is stressed or overwhelmed in her role as a parent, it does not predict how much time she will spend with her child.
  • The more time a mother spends engaging with her child in daily activities, the lower level of stress she may experience and the more energizing she may feel as a parent.
“The last finding was especially interesting to us because it helped us realize that the answer is spending time with their children,” study co-author Blake Berryhill said. “Being a single mother and being a parent in general is very exhausting, but if a mother is willing to spend time with her children, it can reduce her parental stress because she will feel that in her role as a mom, she is doing an adequate job.”

About 41 percent of births in the United States are to unwed mothers. Berryhill said it has been shown that single mothers often have higher levels of parental stress, difficulty a mother experiences from the demands of being a parent, than married mothers.

“Single mothers can feel constantly overloaded and overwhelmed at being a parent and trying to fulfill all of their responsibilities,” Berryhill said. “Being a single mother brings extra stress, because they have decreased economic resources, longer work hours and their social support network may be limited as well. Because of all of this, they can feel the constant stress of ‘how am I doing in my role as a mother?’”

For Berryhill, Kristy Soloski, and Rebekah Adams, the study’s authors, the discovery that engagement can reduce stress was an unexpected, yet positive finding.

“If we can help moms spend more time with their child and help them in that way, then their levels of parental stress will be reduced and they will have more fulfillment in their role as a mother,” Soloski said. “Our role becomes helping them find meaningful ways to interact with their children.”

“Often times mothers are encouraged to engage with their children for the positive impact it has on the child,” Adams said. “The findings show there is long-term positive impact for the mother as well.”

Source : http://familynews.com/spending-time-with-the-kids-reduces-stress/